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Will, you’ve got to share : disputes during family mealtime

posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Gillian BuschGillian Busch
Purposes: The overall aim of the chapter is to explore how disputes between family members are accomplished and how the actions of co-present members (the mother and elder brother) contribute to the unfolding dispute. Methodology: Selected from video-recordings of the family breakfast, three extended sequences of mealtime talk were transcribed using the Jeffersonian system and analysed using the analytic resources of conversation analysis and ethnomethodology. Findings: This analysis establishes how both the mother and elder sibling intervene in matters to do with who has access to some bookclub brochures. Appeals to rules such as 'you've got to share' are used by the mother to manage the local issue of the dispute. In intervening to resolve and settle disputes, the mother makes visible particular moral orders, such as sharing. Intervention is accomplished through directions, increasing physical proximity to the dispute, topic shift and physical intervention in the dispute, such as gently removing a child's hand from the brochures. Justifications for sharing proffered by the mother that work to establish an alignment with one child are challenged by the other sibling, thus contributing to an escalation of the dispute. Also explicated is how an older sibling buys into the dispute, making visible his view about how sharing is accomplished; that is, 'you just cope with it.' Practical implications: This chapter has some practical implications for adults who interact with children (teachers, parents) highlighting that in some way, adults, through their actions may contribute to the continuation of a dispute and secondly, how adult attempts to settle or end a dispute may result only in a temporary settlement rather than a cessation of the dispute. Value of paper: The chapter contributes understandings about how family members manage disputes interactionally and how social and moral orders are accomplished during family mealtime. Additionally, it shows how some disputes are temporarily settled and connected across a section of action rather than ended.


Parent Title

Disputes in everyday life: social and moral orders of children and young people.

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Emerald Group Publishing

Place of Publication

Bingley, United Kingdom

Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Faculty of Arts, Business, Informatics and Education; TBA Research Institute;

Era Eligible


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